Boot Camp Body Reboot

by Lance Breger, MS on May 20, 2010

It’s Monday, and you are the drill sergeant of the toughest outdoor boot camp in the area. Fifteen anxious “recruits” stand before you, awaiting their workout. How you begin this class will affect their performance and their safety, so make sure you plan your moves. Instead of simply raising the body’s temperature, aim to wake up the whole body with an integrated approach. The warm-up is the opportunity to achieve the following goals:

  • Stimulate the nervous system.
  • Increase ankle, knee and hip stability.
  • Activate and stabilize core, scapular and gluteal muscles.

Note: Depending on your boot camp setup, you may also want to practice the body’s ability to slow itself down in response to ground-force reactions.

An integrated approach to your boot camp warm-up will turn on the body’s powerhouses. It doesn’t matter whether your students are coming from a sound sleep or from 7 hours of sitting. Here are three exercises designed to accomplish the three goals listed above.

Ipsilateral Knee-to-Elbow Plank

Goal: Activate deep core and shoulder stabilizers.


  • Start in prone position, body in straight line, toes on ground.
  • Place forearms on floor, elbows beneath shoulders.
  • Raise one foot off floor while flexing knee and hip toward same-side elbow.
  • Alternate legs.
  • Perform 5–12 repetitions.
  • Regress by doing exercise from hands instead of forearms.

Single-Leg Dead Lift With Y, T, A

Goal: Increase the stability of the ankles, while activating the scapular muscles and glutes.


  • Stand upright with one foot off floor.
  • Hinge forward at torso while keeping back and legs straight.
  • At bottom of dead lift, perform the letter Y, T or A with arms, leading from shoulder blades.
  • Slowly return to starting position and let arms drop to sides.
  • Alternate sides.
  • Perform 5–12 repetitions.
  • Regress by eliminating either dead lift or arm positions.

Single-Leg Rotational Push-Up

Goal: Activate chest, deltoids and triceps, as well as stabilizers of core, shoulder and lumbo-pelvic-hip complex.


  • From traditional push-up position, raise one foot off floor. Don’t let foot touch ground while lowering your body.
  • Push yourself back up to starting position and rotate into side plank.
  • Raise top arm and leg to complete the movement.
  • Lower hand and leg back down to switch sides.
  • Perform 5–12 repetitions on each side.
  • Regress by keeping both feet on floor, stacking feet for side plank or doing push-up on knees.

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About the Author

Lance Breger, MS IDEA Author/Presenter